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Translator
Peter Bush translates literature in Barcelona. Previously he directed the British Centre for Literary Translation in Norwich. Recent translations are Tyrant Banderas by Ramón del Valle-Inclán, the classic novel of dictatorship in Latin America; Lorca’s first book, Sketches of Spain: Impressions and Landscapes; and Uncertain Glory by Joan Sales, a Catalan classic set behind the lines during the civil war.
Translator
Katherine Silver has translated and published more than thirty books, mostly of Latin American literature, and her work has been honored by critical acclaim, awards, prizes, and other recognitions. Her most recent and forthcoming translations include works by María Sonia Cristoff, Julio Ramón Ribeyro, Juan Carlos Onetti, Julio Cortázar, Daniel Sada, Horacio Castellanos Moya, César Aira, and Pedro Lemebel. She was recently translator-in-residence at the University of Iowa, and is the former director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre.
January 27, 2015 | 5:00pm

Catalan Literature and Tapas: Katherine Silver and Peter Bush Discuss Josep Pla

B44 Catalan Bistro | 44 Belden Place | San Francisco, CA

This event has already taken place.

Join renowned translators Peter Bush and Katherine Silver in a conversation about the work of Josep Pla, “the most celebrated Catalan writer of his generation”. Enjoy free tantalizing tapas and famous paellas at San Francisco’s B44 Catalan Bistro.

Bush’s translation of Pla’s masterpiece The Gray Notebook recently won the Ramon Llull award. The New York Times called The Gray Notebook “a vibrant testimony to the power of words…” Bush’s translation of Life Embitters will be released in April 2015. He has also translated dozens of books from Catalan, Spanish, and Portuguese, including work by Quim Monzo and Juan Carlos Onetti.


Audio Table of Contents

00:00 Introductions

05:30 Katherine Silver shares what will be discussed: a look at Catalan Literature, Josep Pla’s role in that, Peter’s translation of the non-fiction work, The Grey Notebook, and audience questions

06:10 Peter Bush provides historical background on Catalonia

08:46 Recuperation of Catalan as a literary language (1830-1860)

10:07 Peter begins discussing Josep Pla’s life

12:03 How Josep begins writing

14:42 Katherine asks Peter about the narrative voice in The Grey Notebook

16:10 Peter on Pla’s thinking as a writer: “I want to write something that reflects the movement of life”

19:20 Peter discusses how Catalonians benefitted during World War I and how Pla places those experiences in his work

22:46 Peter reads and discusses several entries in The Grey Notebook about translation, language and life in Catalonia

26:30 Catalan as a minority language and discovering Catalonian writers that are the literary equivalent of Dali, Picasso, Miró

29:00 How Peter ended up translating Pla

30:25 Critical mass of Catalonian literature

31:17 Peter reads a food related passage from The Grey Notebook

34:00 Katherine discusses the craft of Peter’s translation

34:52 Audience Questions

34:54: Q/A I was wondering if he [Pla] knew George Orwell?

*Follow-up: Katherine –I wonder if he knew Joseph Roth?

38:55 Q/A To what extent can you consider Catalan Literature, as a whole, part of the Spanish Literary canon, especially the 20th century when Pla wrote?

41:16 Q/A I was wondering if you knew anything about the tax situation in Andorra?

41:13 Q/A Pla seems to have said that the Catalan language was a tragedy, could you explain that further?

46:05 Q/A How often is Catalan translated into other languages, for instance, Spanish?

48:25 Q/A Is there a similar resurgence with French Catalan writers?

50:05 Q/A Considering how there isn’t much of a tradition of passing on literary traditions in Catalan, how often do you think (directly or indirectly) you see some of the brazenness in Josep Pla’s writing influencing other writers? Do you think that part of the reason Catalan works aren’t translated as often is because Catalonians’ take pride in their language and think it might get muddled through translation?

58:08 Q/A I’m curious, you mentioned the political position that Pla had and this position on the Catalan language, both of which could cause some discomfort for Catalan readers. You refer to it [The Grey Notebook] as a classic, but how do people over there actually feel about it and is there discomfort about him as a figure generally or is that water under the bridge because he wrote in Catalan?

1:03:32 Q/A Did Josep Pla have a different point of view on his work when he was older? Since he wrote The Grey Notebook when he was young and then didn’t edit it until he was older and had more life experience.

Translator
Peter Bush translates literature in Barcelona. Previously he directed the British Centre for Literary Translation in Norwich. Recent translations are Tyrant Banderas by Ramón del Valle-Inclán, the classic novel of dictatorship in Latin America; Lorca’s first book, Sketches of Spain: Impressions and Landscapes; and Uncertain Glory by Joan Sales, a Catalan classic set behind the lines during the civil war.
Translator
Katherine Silver has translated and published more than thirty books, mostly of Latin American literature, and her work has been honored by critical acclaim, awards, prizes, and other recognitions. Her most recent and forthcoming translations include works by María Sonia Cristoff, Julio Ramón Ribeyro, Juan Carlos Onetti, Julio Cortázar, Daniel Sada, Horacio Castellanos Moya, César Aira, and Pedro Lemebel. She was recently translator-in-residence at the University of Iowa, and is the former director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre.